It’s too late to call the exterminators. By the time December 2018 arrives, the Earth will be crawling with over 11 billion “things” connected to the Internet, and there is no turning back. So is the time finally at hand for some of those IoT devices to be your pallets?
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the connection of devices to the Internet and each other. IoT items include everything from your smartphone, Apple watch and household appliances to manufacturing and transportation equipment. In industry, such sensors enable the capture of vast amounts of data. Such “Big Data” can help companies make more-informed business decisions.
The point of IoT isn’t about the sensors, of course; it’s about the insights they can provide. In warehouses, connected pallets and items will enable smarter inventory management. For freight operations, the tracking and tracing of goods “become faster, more accurate, predictive and secure while analytics of a connected fleet can help to predict asset failure and to schedule maintenance checks automatically,” noted a report from Cisco and DHL. Even in the last mile of delivery, the connection of delivery personnel, delivery vehicles and people is seen as a way of delivering faster, more reliable and more cost-effective delivery execution.
But what about IoT for pallets? Sensor-equipped pallets are predicted to become increasingly crucial in IoT enabled supply chains, according to Berg Insight. The consultancy believes that connected pallets rank as the most promising greenfield IoT opportunity, facilitated by low-cost LPWA (low power, wide area) cellular and noncellular technologies. Initially, Berg Insight believes that IoT will find traction in industries with high-value goods or with strict regulatory oversight.
Another attractive use case will relate to the more efficient management of proprietary and commercial pallet pools, a development which will make the use of plastic pallets increasingly profitable. First of all, because plastic pallets last much longer than timber pallets, the IoT cost on a per trip basis will be much lower for plastic.
At the same time, one of the leading concerns about investing in long-lasting plastic pallets has been the fear of pallet loss and the cost of replacement. No surprise, however, IoT-enabled pallets provide better visibility and accurate accounting of who exactly has the pallets. They are at trading partner B, C and D, and they need to be picked up. IoT in combination with the appropriate software can enable cost-effective pallet management and the elimination of their loss.
The relationship between IoT and plastic pallet adoption can go together like a crisp Chablis with vintage Cheddar. Plastic pallets will be more highly demanded to help reduce the cost of IoT hardware, and at the same time, IoT technology will boost pallet user confidence toward introducing them into their supply chains without fear of pallet loss. With the insights provided through increased visibility becoming increasingly valued, IoT and plastic pallets just might prove to be the perfect pairing for your supply chain.
New generation of merchandising display stands are lightweight, easy to assemble and disassemble and include a hidden storage space for crates and merchandise.
Polymer Logistics’ culture of innovation continues. Following the success of its Wood Look Stand and RPC merchandising systems – selected worldwide by retailers including Tesco, Carrefour, Walmart and more – the company has introduced its lightweight, easy to assemble version of the popular Wood Look Stand.
The motivation for creating the new stand stemmed from a desire by retailers. They asked for a wood look stand that would be very simple to assemble for seasonal fruit and vegetable displays. As it turned out, the flexible display stand is ideal for a wide variety of temporary merchandise promotions in addition to fresh produce. Aside from ease of use, the new stand has another significant advantage. It is hollow inside, which allows the retailer to store any crates inside of the stand itself, without interfering the wood look appearance.
When not required, the new Wood Look Stand can be quickly disassembled. Once taken apart, storage requirements are minimal.
The next generation stands are offered with a flat cover or a pyramid cover for a spillover presentation of fruits and vegetables. A tilted plinth display is another option, similar to the existing Wood Look Stand. This feature allows easier access to the back row of the crates for both stockers and customers.
The new wood look stands are available in several colours, including white, green, black and brown.
Adrian Dale, Polymer Logistics MD for the UK, said: “While the Wood Look Stand has been enthusiastically received by major retailers around the world, our continued success depends on our ongoing dialogue with customers, and mutually exploring opportunities for improvement. The next generation Wood Look Stand is a result of those conversations. Like the original, it provides a superior shopping experience, with added benefits of ease of use and additional storage.”
Cleanpal plastic pallets from Polymer Logistics provide a suite of savings, including the elimination of product damage, reduced weight in transport, as well as improved hygiene, cube utilisation, ergonomics and pallet life
FreshLinc specialises in the total supply chain management of temperature controlled fresh, chilled and horticultural products. It is a leading service provider throughout the UK and Europe to retailers, producers and importers. Its modern fleet and facilities allow it to deliver cost-effective and customer-driven solutions to meet the needs of its unique clients.
From telematics to digital driver safety monitoring, the company has a reputation for its willingness to deploy new technologies, which promote productivity and safety. One area where FreshLinc has quietly embraced a new technology towards improving operational performance, quality and worker safety has been in the introduction of the Cleanpal plastic pallet from Polymer Logistics. At only 15kg, the hygienic Cleanpal can be readily picked up by one worker, rather than the two employees recommended for handling a heavier wood pallet. The plastic pallet construction eliminates the risk of cuts from exposed nails or bacteria-laden wood splinters, which also pose a physical contamination risk. The reduced debris from the plastic pallet means less time is spent cleaning the warehouse and trailer floors, thus increasing productivity.
The company is also benefitting from reduced product damage thanks to the use of its interlocking tray system in combination with Cleanpal. The system has eliminated the overhang of merchandise beyond the pallet deck, and with it, the associated exposure that often leaves pallets of perishable products subject to damage. Another benefit from the switch to Cleanpal is consistent pallet quality. FreshLinc’s customers have experienced a damage free supply of pallets which ensures time-sensitive perishable products are able to move without avoidable delay or double handling throughout the supply chain.
Cleanpal pallets also offer huge space savings compared to wood pallets when stacked in the warehouse or on the lorry, thanks to their 3:1 nesting ratio. In addition, unlike wood pallets, Cleanpal is RFID capable, providing the opportunity for accurate pallet tracking in the supply chain.
Adrian Dale, Polymer Logistics MD for the UK, said: “FreshLinc provides a highly sophisticated approach to supply chain management in the fast-paced temperature controlled supply chain. We are delighted to support their efforts through the provision of Cleanpal, which helps improve the safety, quality and efficiency of their operations.”
Eliminates the need for decorative flower buckets, foil or fabric covering of the stand in order to achieve an appealing floral display
Polymer Logistics has announced the introduction of its Wood Look Flower Stand to the UK market. The stand provides an elegant solution to a common challenge faced by retailers – choosing between displaying cut flowers in aesthetically unappealing plain black buckets, or more costly alternative of improving floral display appearance. The latter tactic can involve transferring floral stock to fancier buckets or covering the flower stand with fabric to enhance retail presentation.
With the Wood Look Flower Stand, buckets are simply placed into top openings, providing an instant fresh look without the inefficiencies that result from efforts to replace or beautify the standard black buckets. While supermarkets account for greater than 50 per cent of UK cut flower sales, the fresh ambiance of flower displays is expected to become increasingly important to the shopping experience of millennial customers, underscoring the opportunity for the Wood Look Flower Stand.
“Millennials are not purchasing flowers just to dress up their homes; they want to celebrate their personalities and express their moods,” a recent industry report from the US Produce Marketing Association has noted. “This generation is a natural target for the floral industry, with their environmental consciousness, urban dwellings in the need of greenery, and desire for unique colours, patterns and designs.”
When not in use, the Wood Look Flower Stand can be quickly disassembled to free up retail space while requiring only a minimal storage requirement. Stands are available in colours such as white, green, red and black in addition to brown.
Adrian Dale, Managing Director at Polymer Logistics, said: “The Wood Look Flower Stand is the result of engaging with retailers and understanding their challenges regarding floral merchandising. We are offering a solution that will improve dramatically the presentation of flowers in store, with minimum logistics concerns.”
UK’s biggest supermarket utilises Polymer’s wood-effect Marketplace display fixtures to support the development of healthy eating habits
Polymer Logistics, a leading provider of retail-ready packaging (RRP) solutions, salutes Tesco on its accomplishment of having provided 20 million pieces of free fresh fruit to kids. Polymer is proud to have had its wood effect Marketplace units used to display the fruit selection.
Tesco’s innovative “Free Fruit for Kids” initiative, which has been rolled out in over 800 stores, has given UK children the opportunity to snack on over 6.5 million apples, 8 million bananas and 5.5 million oranges since the program began in the summer of 2016. According to a recent online survey of 1,400 Mumsnet users, one-third of parents say their children have eaten more fruit because of participating in the program, and nine out of ten respondents feel more positive about Tesco because of it.
With its extended line of Marketplace products, Polymer Logistics offers visual merchandising solutions for food retailers seeking to create an upscale fresh market look for stores. The distinctive wood-effect appearance of the Marketplace product family is advantageous to the perception of the store and has become the new standard for retailers.
In addition to visual appeal, Polymer’s Marketplace solutions provide other crucial benefits for the distribution of fresh produce including: robust product protection; foldable and stackable performance to maximise truck and store space; ergonomically friendly design; and the elimination of splinters and wires. Fully recyclable at the end of their long life, Polymer’s Marketplace products eliminate packaging waste.
Following pilots, customer satisfaction surveys and acceptance of the Marketplace crates within international chains, including Wal-Mart and Carrefour, Tesco Group’s ‘One Stop’ shops have also selected Polymer Logistics’ Marketplace display and crate system – a modular display system that can be quickly assembled and is designed to create a uniform store look.
Adrian Dale, Polymer Logistics Managing Director for the UK, said, “We are delighted to support Tesco’s commitment to making the healthy choice easier for all its customers, children and grown-ups, through a distinctive ‘fresh from the field’ appearance of its stores and products.
Natural, wood-effect presentation ambiance results in sales increase for the Italian distributor/retailer with Shoppers perceiving produce fresher and higher in quality.
In a country long known for its passionate embrace of food ingredients of exceptional quality, particularly fresh produce, the Market Place crate from Polymer Logistics is quickly establishing itself as a foundational component of the Italian shopping experience. Following successful implementations at Wal-Mart and Carrefour, Commerciale GiCap, a major distribution company in southern Italy, has benefited from a highly successful rollout of the Market Place crate system. GiCap, affiliated with Italy’s VéGé Group retail consortium, is active in Messina and its provinces in that country. It operates 80 stores operating under the Quiconviene and Sidis names.
In its efforts to grow its fruit and vegetable presence in recent years, GiCap has taken several steps to target its trading strategies and implement policy changes. A crucial part of its initiative has related to improving its retail shopping experience. “We have expanded our commitment to improving the presentation strategies for fruit and vegetables at our stores,” said Giovanni Capone, Sales Director of GiCap. During the second half of 2016, the company introduced the Market Place crate system to a significant part of its store network.
“The result was totally positive,” Capone said. “We immediately found a significant increase in sales, which in some cases reached 10%.” He noted that customer feedback was also very positive about how the Market Place crates provided a greater “visibility” or visual appeal to the fresh produce being displayed.
Polymer Logistics provides industry-leading solutions for food retailers seeking to create an upscale fresh market look for stores. The distinctive wood-effect, ‘fresh from the field’ appearance of the Market Place product family is quickly becoming the defacto standard for the best-in-class merchandising of fresh produce in Europe as well as North America. Wal-Mart and Carrefour have both recorded substantial increases in fresh produce sales since instituting the Market Place crate. In fact, a study conducted in Italy indicated that 94% of consumers preferred the “Wood-Look” of Market Place crates to other alternatives.
Besides its obvious advantages in terms of visual appeal for retail display, Market Place crates provide other crucial benefits for the distribution of fresh produce, including robust product protection, foldable and stackable performance to maximise truck and store space, ergonomically friendly design, and the elimination of splinters and wires. Market Place crates from Polymer also eliminate packaging waste through repeated reuse, and ultimately their recycling into plastic granules at the end of their useful life.
“In light of this experience, we are considering the possibility to introduce the Polymer Logistics solutions across all our network,” Capone concluded.
Who will be this year’s winners in fresh? Anticipation is running high as the Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC) gets set to stage Fresh Awards 2017, an event which spotlights the produce industry’s best and brightest in areas such as innovation, leadership, business best practices and sustainability. Judges have been diligently reviewing an “overwhelming” number of entries to get down to the finalists, according to Nigel Jenny, the CEO of FPC. The competition is intense, but the results can be beneficial to supply chain participants as well as customers.
A total of 16 awards will be presented at the black-tie event. They span five different categories, including Individual Excellence, Supply Chain Excellence, Retail Excellence, Business Excellence, and Best of the Best. Polymer Logistics welcomes the opportunity to participate at Fresh Awards 2017 as the sponsor of the prestigious Fresh Produce Business of the Year Award. Last year, the winner in this section was fresh prepared fruit supplier, Blue Skies.
The celebration takes place Thursday 8th June at the Intercontinental, Park Lane, when well-known British comedian, actor and broadcaster Hugh Dennis will announce the finalists and winners to the capacity audience. More than 500 people attended last year’s gala.
It’s no secret that fresh produce is becoming increasingly important to shoppers, especially fresh, high-quality items that provide superior nutrition and more memorable meal experiences. As FPC’s Fresh Awards program supports the efforts of individuals and businesses in the fresh produce supply chain dedicated to improving customer engagement with fresh food, Polymer Logistics is extremely proud to support this initiative. It is one that holds true to Polymer’s own values around providing packaging solutions such as the Market Place Crate, an approach which maximises the quality and freshness of fresh produce in the most logistically efficient and retail-friendly manner possible – from grower to the produce display. As we celebrate the battle to win at Fresh Awards 2017, we also celebrate the collaborative aspirations of the fresh produce supply chain toward delivering the freshest and the best to customers. When consumers win, so do we all.